A film screening of A Whale of a Tale and conversation with director Megumi Sasaki, in partnership with Asia Society Southern California.
In 2010, a sleepy fishing town in Japan suddenly found itself in the worldwide media spotlight. The Cove, a documentary denouncing the town's longstanding whale and dolphin hunting traditions, won an Academy Award and overnight, the village of Taiji became a battleground for activists from around the world. Could a proud 400-year-old whaling tradition survive a tsunami of modern animal-rights activism and the colliding forces of globalism vs. localism?
A Whale of a Tale reveals the complex story behind the ongoing debate on the whale and dolphin hunting traditions. Told through a wide range of characters including local fishermen, international activists, long-time Japanese residents, and an American journalist, this powerful documentary unearths a deep divide between Eastern and Western thought on nature, wildlife, and cultural sensitivity in the face of global activism.
Documentarian Megumi Sasaki's third feature-length film had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea and has won awards in many other festivals. In August 2017, Sasaki published her first book with the same title of the film in Japanese. Winner of the 2018 Science Journalist Award, Okujirasama depicts the behind the scenes of the film’s production and delves into the historical and religious background of the whaling controversy.